[Pause to suppress pangs of envy at such longevity. Sigh!]
There were many very interesting aspects to this workshop, but here I will focus on one particular contribution, during the closing sessions, from Myron Gutmann. Myron is Director of ICPSR, a roughly equivalent organisation in the US, based at Michigan. Myron said he wanted to argue for retaining the basics. A data archive, he said, should do (at least) 5 things:
It’s a pretty good summary of the job of an archive, give or take a verb or two. Myron added something like “serve new user bases” and “innovate” in various ways, and it’s hard to argue with.
There were some sober reflections on sustainability at the workshop, partly relating to the difficult funding position for long-term longitudinal surveys, but partly reflecting the recent AHRC decisions. Paraphrasing Kevin Schurer, we never could or should take things for granted, but now we must be doubly persuasive, even if the UKDA's main funder ESRC regards ESDS (of which UKDA is a key part) as “a jewel in its crown”.